When your toddler expresses gender confusion

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When your toddler expresses gender confusion

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So you have a toddler, and your toddler boy says to you, "You know what? I'm a girl." You're a parent and you are wondering, "Is that normal? Is this a phase or is this going to be forever and something about my child's future. Is my child transgender or gay?" My answer to that question is, "We don't know." We do know that your toddler is telling you something very important about how they feel at age two. They feel like that are not the gender on their birth certificate. We don't know if they are just playing around with it and just exploring, or if they are telling you something very deep and important about who they are. It's going to take time to find out. When we say, "Is it just a phase?" Often that means, we hope they will get over it. We hope they will move on. I think there is a real problem with that because it may communicate to your child, if they are transgender, that they don't like that, you are hoping it's just a phase, and they will grow out of it.

See Diane Ehrensaft, PhD's video on When your toddler expresses gender confusion...

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Diane Ehrensaft, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Diane Ehrensaft, PhD is a developmental and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. She is a parenting expert and also specializes in gender studies and psychotherapy and consultation with gender nonconforming children and their families. She is the author of Gender Born, Gender Made:  Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children; Mommies Daddies, Donors, Surrogates, Building a Home Within (co-edited with Toni Heineman), Spoiling Childhood, and Parenting Together. Dr. Ehrensaft has made many media appearances, most recently the Anderson Cooper Day show, and has presented and published both nationally and internationally on the subjects of parenting, child development, assisted reproductive technology, and children’s gender development and gender nonconformity.

Dr. Ehrensaft is the Director of Mental Health of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a University of California San Francisco-community partnership offering interdisciplinary services to gender conforming children and youth and their families, as well as the psychologist at the UCSF Gender Clinic.

She serves on the faculty of The University of California and is a founding member of A Home Within, a national non-profit organization serving the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care.

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